Title

Gu Hongming as a cultural amphibian : a Confucian universalist critique of modern western civilization

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Journal of World History

Publication Date

12-2011

Volume

22

Issue

4

First Page

715

Last Page

746

Publisher

University of Hawai'i Press

Abstract

Intellectuals around the world debated the meaning of civilization during the World War I era. This article reexamines the life and ideas of the so-called Chinese sage Gu Hongming. Born and raised in British Malaya, Gu grew up as an English-educated Romanticist, but he ended as a staunch monarchist and eminent Confucian propagandist to the early twentieth-century Western world. In contrast to the traditional label of "cultural conservative," I propose the new concept of "cultural amphibians" to characterize Gu and his contemporary "spokesmen of the East." Because of their social "hybrid vigor" and transcultural competence at a time of rapid global transformations, these men were able to forge "authentic" identities across national, ideological, and cultural boundaries. Seemingly rooted in a cultural and ideological confrontation between the West and the non-West, their discourses on "Eastern-Western civilizations" are in fact better seen as marked by a global intellectual syncretism.

Print ISSN

10456007

E-ISSN

15278050

Publisher Statement

Journal of World History © 2011 University of Hawai'i Press. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Language

English

Recommended Citation

Du, C. (2011). Gu Hongming as a cultural amphibian: A Confucian universalist critique of modern western civilization. Journal of World History, 22(4), 715-746.

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